• top frame 
  • Finely beaded mules with short vamp beaded flower design, red painted insole, narrow heel.
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Beaded mules
Malacca Straits, Malaysia, c. 1950
BSM P79.93

Small Stories

Malacca Straits, Malaysia

Babas and Nyonyas, as they are known in Malaysia, are the male and female descendents of the Chinese who intermarried with the Javanese Malays. Although settled in Malaysia for hundreds of years, they have retained an adherence to many aspects of Chinese culture. Like the Han Chinese, Nyonyas, the female descendents, were judged on the workmanship of the shoes they produced. A girl created elegant mules with elaborately beaded and embroidered uppers for her prospective groom and his family to examine. A bride might also make the pair of mules she would wear at her wedding. Many fine mules are wrapped in cloth and kept as treasured family heirlooms.